What are Voice Disorders?

By San Antonio Voice and ENT Institute, PLLC
August 23, 2018
Category: Otolaryngology
Tags: Voice Disorder  

Experiencing hoarseness? Lost your voice? Find out what's going on.

Most people have dealt with issues with their voice at some point, whether you found yourself losing your voice after a night of cheering onvoice disorders your favorite football team or a nasty infection has caused your voice quality to change resulting in hoarseness. While some issues will go away on their own, if symptoms persist this could be a sign of a voice disorder. This is where our San Antonio, TX, otolaryngologist Dr. Aayesha Khan comes in. She is fellowship trained in Laryngology and has expertise in treating voice disorders.

What is a voice disorder?

It is a medical condition in which the quality of the voice is abnormal. This can occur because of the improper vibration of the vocal folds which affects speech production resulting in abnormal pitch, loudness, quality of the voice or easy fatigue.

What are the different voice disorders?

Some common voice disorders include:

Laryngitis: An inflammation of the voice box due to infection or misuse (this is often what happens the day after you’ve been shouting at a big game or singing along at a concert). Those with laryngitis will often experience vocal weakness, change in voice quality, or even pain. Most cases of laryngitis will resolve with voice rest and hydration but should be checked out by our otolaryngologist in San Antonio if symptoms persist for more than 2-3 weeks.

Vocal cord paralysis: Just as the name suggests, vocal cord paralysis is when either one or both vocal cords can’t move, causing them to work improperly. This can lead to hoarseness, weakened voice, and difficulty swallowing or breathing. Vocal cord paralysis can be the result of nerve damage, whether through surgery, injury, infection, stroke or cancer. The diagnosis of vocal cord paralysis requires expertise and can only be diagnosed by first examining the voice box and vocal fold movement.

Polyps or cysts: These growths that develop on the vocal folds make it difficult for them to vibrate, causing hoarseness and other issues with the voice. The most common cause is trauma to the vocal cords or misuse of the vocal cords. Voice therapy or surgery may be needed.

Laryngeal Cancer: This can develop in any part of the voice box and the symptoms and treatment depend on the size and location of the cancer. Smoking and alcohol are the most significant risk factors in the development of laryngeal cancer.  

What are risk factors for voice disorders?

Common factors include:

  • Vocal abuse (yelling, screaming, excessive use)
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Certain medical conditions (neurological, autoimmune, thyroid disorders)

If you are noticing changes in your voice, it’s important that you seean ENT specialist who help you figure out the answers. Call San Antonio Voice and ENT Institute today and have an expert examine you.